Dallas, TX

Condominium abuses: A continuing saga

June 06, 2004
Every so often, a case comes across my desk which reminds me that many community associations still have a lot to learn. The saga of Bessie Jacobs v. Concord Village Condominium X Association is a case in point.
     Bessie Jacobs -- according to the Opinion handed down by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida on February 1, 2004 -- is an eighty-eight year old, physically handicapped victim of polio, who lives alone in the Concord Village Condominium in Tamarac, Florida.
     She moved into the association 22 years ago. To relieve her pain, she uses a motorized tricycle. She bought her unit directly from the developer, who built a plywood ramp so that she could store her tricycle and recharge its battery in a closet on the ground floor, which is four inches above the floor.

Jackson announces $94.5M in community development and housing funds for Texas

April 15, 2004
The State of Texas will receive nearly $94.5 million in funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to stimulate local economies, produce affordable housing, help the homeless, and assist families and individuals with HIV/AIDS. In making today's announcement during a town hall meeting in West Dallas, HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson said the funding represents another investment in improving the living conditions for lower income families in Texas.
     "This Administration is committed to promoting economic development and job growth, increasing the supply of affordable housing, and helping our most vulnerable neighbors," said Jackson. "These funds will serve as a catalyst for low-income families trying to cross the threshold into homeownership and demonstrate our commitment to the future of this great state."
     The funding announced today includes:
     $86,736,688 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds; $4,977,909 in Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG); and, $2,736,000 for Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA).

Groups sue to change name of 'Jap Road'

December 03, 2003
Several civil rights groups filed a discrimination complaint on Tuesday trying to get a small community in southeast Texas to remove a racial slur from its city maps by changing the name of its "Jap Road."
     The Anti-Defamation League, Japanese American Citizens League and others filed a discrimination complaint on behalf of two Japanese-Americans with two U.S. government agencies asking for them to suspend paying federal tax dollars to Jefferson County in Texas until the county renames Jap Road.
     The three-mile stretch of road in Fannett, near Beaumont, has been around for about 100 years. It was named to honor a Japanese family who moved to the area and helped introduce the region to rice farming.
     Over the years, the name has remained the same but the meaning of "Jap" has changed to become a racial slur.

Texas jet firm sued for discrimination

August 25, 2003
An aerospace company has been sued over its firing of a jet salesman who complained about an executive's comments that because he is a Mormon he would offend customers by refusing to smoke or drink, federal officials said Monday.
     Bombardier Aerospace Corp. was accused of civil rights violations in what a government lawyer called "one of the most ridiculous workplace outrages one could imagine."
     The salesman, Michael Kolman, 38, was fired less than a week after he complained to the company's personnel department, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said.

Lease, city still at odds on proposed Alzheimer’s facility

June 30, 2003
The city expects to hear in a week or two if the federal government will pursue Wayne Lease’s discrimination claim over conditions the city placed on his proposed Alzheimer’s facility.
     Lease turned to the U.S. department of Housing and Urban Development after the city refused to drop conditions he said were discriminatory and cost-prohibitive for his proposed 5,500-square foot dementia facility planned for Liberty Way.
     The city maintains the conditions are the same as would be placed on a private home on the large lot.

First black family buys into ritzy Dallas enclave

June 04, 2003
Highland Park, Texas, one of the wealthiest enclaves in America, is a beautiful village, refined and leafy, filled with parks, set in the heart of Dallas. Together with its slightly less affluent sister town of University Park, home to Southern Methodist University, the two Park Cities are often referred to in Dallas as “the bubble,” as though the big city, with its real-world problems, seldom intrudes.
     Karen Watson is moving to Highland Park for the very same reasons as most of the residents. She loves her gracious 1928 Mediterranean-style home, the lushly landscaped streets and its excellent schools (earlier this month, NEWSWEEK ranked HP High as the 14th best school in the nation). But unlike most of the other new arrivals, Watson, 36 and her husband, Joshua Lazu, 38, have attracted a fair amount of attention even before their moving truck has pulled up to the house. The local newspaper, Park Cities People, features Karen Watson on the front page of its current edition.
     Here’s the lead of the story: “Guess who’s coming to dinner—and staying for a while?”

Journalists discuss racial profiling

August 09, 2002
Panelists at a conference of Asian-American journalists said the government should not resort to racial profiling in its investigation of the September 11 attacks.
      As the government cracks down on terrorists, the civil rights of innocent people are being violated as well, said Frank Wu, a professor at the Howard University School of Law said Thursday at the Asian American Journalists Association convention.
      U.S. Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff, who heads the Justice Department's criminal division, said the government does not practice racial profiling.

American CEO backs decision on agent

January 07, 2002
American Airlines chief executive Don Carty says he backs a pilot's decision to remove an armed Arab-American Secret Service agent from a Christmas Day flight at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
     "I am completely convinced that our captain acted appropriately and in the best interests of security on his airplane," Carty said in a weekend statement for American employees on the company's Web site and on the company's hotline. "Our captains deal with law enforcement professionals who carry firearms on airplanes all the time."
     Carty said he believed the pilot had the agent removed solely in the interest of the flight's safety. 

Seventeen drug cases dismissed amid bias charges

April 04, 2001
Prosecutors have dismissed 17 drug cases filed by a narcotics task force accused of targeting suspects because of their race. 
     Dismissals of the cocaine prosecutions came a week after the American Civil Liberties Union complained to the U.S. Justice Department that the South Central Narcotics Task Force violated the civil rights of blacks during a drug bust last year that led to 28 arrests. 
     Eleven people had already pleaded guilty to charges in the drug raid in Hearne, about 140 miles south of Dallas.  
     But District Attorney John Paschall said Wednesday that the dismissals were not race related. He said charges were thrown out because of allegedly tainted evidence provided by an informant who failed a polygraph test in the other cases and was suspected of tampering with evidence. 

Texas criminal process said flawed

October 16, 2000
A group that assists death row inmates has described the Texas criminal defense process as riddled by prosecutorial misconduct, ineffective defense attorneys, racial discrimination in sentencing and a weak appellate process.
      The Texas Defender Service, in an analysis of hundreds of death penalty cases, said that in many appeals, defense attorneys raised no new claims or conducted investigations.
      "We're drowning ... in a sea of deficiencies in the death penalty process, and while we're drowning everyone's standing around going 'Everything's fine,'" Maurie Levin, managing attorney for the service's Austin office, told the Dallas Morning News in Monday's editions.
      The report, scheduled for release Monday, cited 84 capital cases in which a prosecutor or police "deliberately presented false or misleading testimony ... concealed exculpatory evidence or used notoriously unreliable evidence from a jailhouse snitch."

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